Wow, what a week! Over the past weekend a mosquito or a spider bit me on the arm that has lymphedema. EEK!


I have lymphedema in my left arm after breast cancer (meaning I had some nodes removed) during my mastectomy. (They do so to check the spread of cancerous cells.) Lymph doesn’t move in your body like blood does. So when you get a cut help comes, but it may stay a while.



Scary Thoughts
Here are a few warnings about anything that might harm my arm or cause an infection such as:
a bug bite,
repetitive arm movements,
taking blood pressure on that arm,
putting on anything that constricts my arm or fingers,
sunburn, and more.
These can cause the lymph to marshall their forces to fix whatever is going on, which results in swelling that may not go away!!!!!! This can happen years after the lymph node removal. (I’m 6 years out.)


So thinking back, when I was bitten by this insect, I started scratching and thought “Well, maybe rushing I left some soap on my arm from the shower”. So I tried to rinsed the area again and thought no more about it.


Later that evening, I noticed these four red splotches on my left forearm (Yep, the one with lymphedema) and one splotch on my right arm. The thing that scares me about all of this is the fact that my arm’s getting hard. And with lymphedema the swelling seldom goes down. I tried not to think about those things and stay positive.



Sometimes your walk can be Amazing.

The Search
This episode started Saturday and there was just too much happening among which was a Saturday night birthday party (exciting & celebratory, for real). I really didn’t want to miss it! And Sunday I was to sign the sermon at church.


Nicole (another sign language interpreter) asked me to be familiar with the songs for Sunday’s service as backup (she didn’t need help, Praise the Lord)! But my arm was still itchy and painful. So I tried an anti-itch cream on the patches. (Minor relief) I then got Benadryl tablets from, Pat because it was 11 o’clock at night when I realized I was still experiencing this unbearable, incredible itchy pain and all the drugstores closed at 10 PM.😱


Well, at least the Benadryl helped me sleep and not think about the itching. I slept, but awoke still a little concerned about my arm, but ready to give it my all.



Twitter & Teladoc
After signing on Sunday, and being thankful Rev. Jones cut his sermon shortWhen I got home, I called Teladoc. I really started panicking again about the things that were happening to my arm.


I posted a message on Twitter and within the Lymphedema Community to see if anyone had a similar kind of issue. Maybe someone knew what to do? So far, no reply, but that had only been like three minutes. I did get messages of concern later.


The Teladoc Doc asked if I had a fever (and everything else I read on Google about mosquito/spider bites such as, if you have a fever then you really have an infection).


If one has lymphedema it said “infection is usually marked by hardening of the area and a warm feeling”.  Well, I had both of those indicators. In fact, I had applied ice off and on throughout the day, now I’m reading it stating “don’t freeze the area if you have lymphedema”. (Too late, I didn’t know.)



I wasn’t quite able to grade papers because the arm hurt and itched all Sunday. I really just wanted to rest and just kept falling asleep.


I promised my students they would have their papers graded by Monday because midterm grades are due Friday. I’m not sure I’m gonna be able to meet that promise of giving them a heads-up prior to their getting their midterm grade.👩🏽‍💻😴


The one thing I am sure of – I am going to see a doctor if I can – today. I also texted our daughters to let them know what was happening with my arm. As we get older, they seem to want to know the first stages of “I’m not feeling too well” as opposed to suddenly “I’m in the hospital”.

I guess they’re right, but I hate to alarm people, when it’s really nothing.



I emailed my trainer early Monday to cancel my second Free introductory session and called the doctor as soon as the office opened. I don’t take regular meds and am not fond of going to the doctor.


I saw the Doctor and was so tempted, when I picked up the prescription to get a Snickers bar. There was one that said INCOMPLETE – right so I don’t need you!


Later that day Pat, called and asked what I had eaten. So, I went over and had greens, hot water cornbread, chicken and turnips. I did not feel like cooking. (Okay, I often don’t.)



The Hotwater tank leaked through the ceiling yesterday – Wednesday. Why do builders put them in the attic? Things are much better, the meds helped the itching & pain, although the arm has not gone down.


God is good! He gives us much to do and fortunately the will to do it. I am thankful for my family, friends, colleagues & students. I pray your week is going well. Most of all, I pray for those who are struggling. We are still blessed!


Cinnamon bites and kisses simultaneously. – Vanna Bonta


Dr. Harriette

6 Replies to “To Ice or Not to Ice? That is one of the Questions”

  1. I am glad to hear that you are better. I will continue to pray that the swelling will go away.

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